Amrita Lalljee, Amba Jhala and Anirudh Nair were down in Pench to conduct a very unique workshop this month. The trio, established names in the field of performing arts, visited our students with the motive of making them have some fun and simultaneously helping them find their voices.
Our students walked into the E-Base, unaware of what we had in store for them for the next three days. The workshop encompassed all kinds of learning and fun, from laughing out loud to performing skits based on personal experiences.
Performing Arts is strongly linked to building one’s confidence and opening up. Our aim is to help our students not only find their voice to make them confident community leaders but also identify performing arts as a strong medium of expression and raising awareness.
We began with simple exercises such as making eye contact with their peers while repeating a given a word in different manners. Sometimes screaming it out loudly to scare the peers and sometimes whispering it to everyone. An exercise highly amusing to the students, it became an instant hit. Every student wanted to try out different voices, some even imitating the voice of an angry teacher.
Understand the tone and volume of their voices was one aspect of the workshop. The other was understanding their own body and its unique language. The students were taught the implications of our body language and the use of space. When one is angry, for example, he would have his arms at his waist and his chest extended. The students each got a chance to strike these poses and momentarily feel the emotion.
Another exercise had the students pairing up and moving in unison to soothing music. The activity helps them build trust without the use of verbal communication and understand their space.
So insightful was the session, that some of the school teachers joined in too!
After two days of fun, it was time to perform. In small groups, our students were meant to draw on their past experiences to perform a small skit for their peers and our educators. This was truly an eye opening day for us as we watched our students perform fearlessly. Discounting a few giggles on being on stage for the first time, our students shined through! We were overjoyed to see how wonderfully they expressed themselves and put up a quick skit without hesitation. A large part of this confidence was drawn from the exercises of the two previous days.
One of the groups went a step ahead and enacted an experience with a strong social message. They drew on their experience of a perpetually drunk uncle who eventually came clean and is now happily a part of their community. Through their performance they conveyed the ill effects of alcohol. Without explicitly talking about the problem of alcoholism, they subtly, but effectively, communicated its message.
In the end, to help the with their public speaking, the students were meant to talk about themselves and their experience of the workshop. Within only three days, we could see significant changes in our students and their interactions.
Here is to our confident, young leaders finding their voices and embracing the performing arts as a strong tool of communication!